Five Tips for Juggling Your Busy Schedule
Everyone is busy these days. Ask someone how they are doing and more often than not they’ll tell you just how hectic their schedule is with working full time, meeting deadlines, carpooling, heading to their kids’ baseball and soccer practices, helping with homework, and more. It’s enough to make your head spin.
The good news is that being busy is actually a good thing. Research published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience this past spring found that the busier you are, the better it is for your cognitive function. While that might be music to your ears, it doesn’t necessarily relieve the stress you encounter juggling what feels like a million different tasks that life throws at you on a daily basis. “Creating balance in life requires using creative techniques to juggle really busy schedules and stay on track with deadlines and projects,” explains life-balance consultant Marie Levey- Pabst of Create Balance with Marie Levey-Pabst.
To better combat your busy-ness and reduce it to a normal, manageable amount, heed these expert tips.
TIP #1: DO TWO THINGS A DAY
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by a massive to-do list; that is exactly why Levey-Pabst frowns upon making one up daily with all of the things you need to do. “Every morning, when you wake up, decide on just two things that you are going to get done today,” she says. “They can be small errands you have been putting off, or big projects you need to spend an hour getting started on. But pick just two and write them down. Then, check in at night and make sure you got them done. Of course, you will do other things, as well, but having some focus on two tasks helps you keep moving forward, and gives you a sense of accomplishment no matter how your day went.”
TIP #2: CREATE A MASTER TO-DO LIST
Unlike your daily to-do list, the master one serves as a record of the ongoing things that you’d like to get done such as removing the wallpaper from the bathroom or updating your holiday address list. “When you write out all of the things you need to accomplish this is called a brain dump and becomes your Master Project List,” says Jessica Nowell of Time Order Purpose Organizing. This helps you feel more organized, but it’s also a lot less overwhelming when you only refer to it once or twice a month.
TIP #3: ESTIMATE THE TIME YOU THINK EACH ITEM WILL TAKE YOU ON YOUR MASTER PROJECT LIST
This one is huge considering many of us have a hard time gauging just how long a certain task will actually take us. “When you have free time in your day, after you completed your one or two most important things, you can schedule other tasks into your day based on the time it will take,” says Nowell. For example, you may allow for fifteen minutes before a meeting to edit a blog post or fold some laundry.
TIP #4: BREAK PROJECTS INTO ACTION STEPS
“Too often people try and tackle big projects like painting a room, completing a report, [or] planning a course, without stopping to think about the small, discreet tasks that actually make up the project,” says Levey-Pabst. “This is especially true of parents who used to have larger blocks of time to work before they had children. At the start of each week, take some time to plan out three to seven action steps related to a few of your big projects. Then, focus on each action step one at a time. You will progress instead of being stuck with a big project staring you down.”
TIP #5: DO A CALENDAR REVIEW EVERY MORNING.
Taking those ten minutes in the morning (or even the night before) to go over the things you need to accomplish the next day or that day can really help you better focus on the tasks at hand. “Ask yourself: What does your day look like? When do you need to be somewhere? When do you have time to be super focused and productive? What part of your day is for family or personal time?” recommends Levey-Pabst. “Getting a quick sense of your day can help you be more focused and more prepared to juggle your busy schedule.” Written by Blake Miller. Illustration provided by ©iStockphoto.com/MightyIsland.
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